After a few rough mornings, an afternoon consisting of accidentally using an essential oil blend on my salad, (ps never make this mistake with tea tree oil) and some chilly weather, we finally had a good morning today!
The weather is still calling for below 40’s most of the weekend and it reminds me of the Swedish saying that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” While I know this to be true and wish I had all the right clothing not only for myself, but Bekytt too, the reality is I can’t always convince an almost 2 yo to go out in the cold. But after a Monday evening of over 70 degrees and a Tuesday still in the 60’s, he couldn’t quite comprehend why we weren’t going outside on Wednesday when snow started falling. And this was my “eureka” moment. The moment of clarity with what and where I want to go with my summer.
I have to admit, when I first heard Avital from The Parenting Junkie talk in the Transforming Toddlerhood Seminar, I had a brief moment of “clarity.” It was like a light bulb that went off that said, “I am just like her and I want to be more like her.” Well, I’m sort of like her I guess. If you haven’t heard of her, you should definitely check her out, but the part that captured my eye was how her wants and desires changed when she became a mom. Yet, her change wasn’t so dramatic that she couldn’t take her experience as an interior designer and integrate it into a newfound passion and career integrating parenthood.
My story goes like this. I always wanted to be a pediatric physical therapist. So I put in the work and I eventually found my dream job at Children’s Minnesota. I loved the kids, my coworkers, the atmosphere, the diversity in the families I worked for. I loved the city. I loved who I became when I was there. But I did not like the distance between me and my family. I also didn’t like the “system.” I didn’t like that I couldn’t treat based off of my assessment and recommendations and that I had to rely on insurance companies saying yay or nay to the treatment I had wanted to provide. So I started LIVEfor. With a mission to treat any child who needed physical therapy services so they could live the life they wanted to, not the life insurances said they had to. LIVEfor is still very strong in my heart and it’s mission is still my baby. Still one I want to see through. However, when I had my own baby, that became all that mattered.
Like the Parenting Junkie, all I did was research the best of everything. Especially in our early days in the NICU. I wanted to know what I could do to help our son grow and develop into a strong, healthy individual. Once we got through the medical trenches, I began to research everything else. Sleep. Nutrition. Toys. How to ensure your kids are happy. How to build resiliency. How to respond to your children. You name it, and I researched it. I became a sponge for knowledge so I could pick and choose what information I wanted to follow. What felt inline with my heart and our family values. This eagerness to learn more to provide a great life for our son has not stopped and probably never will. Yet, the balance, or rather the integration, of this eagerness to learn and my professional life is something I keep trying to find. I have a passion for helping our own son, but helping other parents and kids as well who may need some guidance when it comes to movement and gross motor abilities.
I have always been drawn to movement. As a kid, sports were my life. I played hockey, soccer, softball, skied, ran, played volleyball. I loved the outdoors and when rock climbing was introduced to me, I was hooked. You name it and I wanted to try it. I even made the cheerleading squad before my volleyball teacher very aggressively told me that is not where I belonged. And she was right. I wanted to be the one on the court, not the one cheering. Though I still wonder if I would have loved that too... However, music and dance were also an integral part of my teenage years and being in show choir was one of the best high school memories I have. I guess you can say I just loved living life. I was lucky enough to have a loving mom and family who wanted me to be able to experience anything life had to offer. I was also brave enough to try new things and not be afraid of failure. I actually never believed I would fail. Looking back, this may be what has helped me be successful in life, but I have no idea how I got that mentality. I wish my mom was still here to tell me how she helped shape this awesome life for me, how she survived and thrived as a single mom, how she made me laugh in the midst of stressful moments, and how to face the endless sleepless nights. She may have had a lot to share, but she may have also said “I don’t know. We just got lucky I guess.”
So here I am today. Realizing all of the questions and passions I have as a mom are not new. The answers I find and create are likely also not new, but not everyone shares their story and integrates their passions to find a unique solution to the same “problem” we all face. The common problem I see and every parent wants is “how to to make sure my child is happy, healthy, and resilient. How do I make sure s/he turns into a good person?” Sure we want more than that, but isn’t this the basis of everything? Happiness? There are so many theories out there, and many are based on research. I believe in a lot of them, and yet I want to integrate this knowledge with my own personal experience and belief system. So where does this leave me? On a journey to integrate movement into parenting the best way I know how...taking my son outside. Saying no to the phone and tv every single weekend, and saying yes to going outside.
I plan to teach my son how to read a map. How to plan. Pick a location we want to explore. Figure out what we will need. Decide how to pack and what we want to bring. Figure out the best way to pack the car. How much money we need and what it will get us. And then get in the car and drive to said location. Explore it for a day or ten and create memories. The great outdoors. The unknown. The problem solving. The back planning. The after action reflection where we talk about what went well and what didn’t so our next adventure will be even greater. This is the way I want to parent. The way I want to share our stories. To see what combination of research and real life work for us. Some days may call for relaxation and books, some may call for running through the woods and jumping in puddles. Some may cause frustration when we are cold and wet and miles away from a hot bath or warm fire. But I know we won’t fail. Not when we do this together, as a family, and with an open mind. Our mind is whatever we want it to be. And I believe we all have the power to choose whatever joy means for us. So here we go! Let’s enjoy the journey and not just the destination! This weekend could be an opportunity for trial and error before summer break is upon us! Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!
-Kathryn Kraft, MPT
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